Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York


Too many of us do not have a Will to designate how our possessions should be distributed. Perhaps it is because a Will is so final. Preparing and signing a Will seems to make death so inevitable.

In reality, preparing a Will should be done when death and dying seem far removed. Then our judgement is at its best...in a state of calm, and intelligent evaluation. Preparing a Will under duress is not the time to make judgments that may affect the lives of our loved ones.

Your will is one of the most important documents that you will ever sign. In it you can say who is to receive your property after your death, what each of them shall receive, when they shall receive it and whether they are to receive it outright or safeguarded in trust. You can also say who is to settle your estate and who is to protect and manage any property you leave in trust.

Property always belongs to someone. The law therefore permits you to say, by Will or otherwise, to whom your property shall go after your death. But if you do not dispose of your property, then the state sees that this is done for you by an administrator acting under the laws of intestate.

These laws, developed over a long period of time and designed to fit the average estate, are necessarily impersonal and may not fit your particular estate. They will distribute your property solely on a basis of relationship (wife or husband, children, parents).

Good Christian Stewardship would call for the orderly disposition of our worldly goods. If you do not make a Will, the State will do so and it may not be according to your wishes.

By making a Will, your beneficiaries will be your choice...the disposition of possessions your decision.


It may be simplest to designate that Your Family of Faith (beneficiary choices) receive a percentage of your estate. Many donors designate a percentage so that they may contribute their estates as they have contributed their income over the years.

If you wish to know the exact amount of your gift, so as to direct the use to which it will be put, you can also select a specific amount.

You might create an endowment and continue your annual gifts to Your Family of Faith forever. You simply select an amount which, when invested, will continue your present annual contribution forever.

After providing for your other heirs, you can leave the remainder of your estate to Your Family of Faith, thus removing the possibility that your property might go to the State if your other heirs do not survive you.

Wills offer many donors a way to make gifts which might not have been possible during their lifetime. You can include a gift for Your Family of Faith in your Will and continue your support.

Creative planning often provides dramatic opportunities for a Will to both transfer your entire estate free of federal estate taxes, and simultaneously provide for your charitable interests. You may need to review your Will with your attorney to be certain that is written to take advantage of these possibilities.